January 17, 2008

F&B gudtfood

I was willing to at least try a place called "Gudtfood."

The small chain (two locations so far) sells European-style street food--hot dogs, fries, fish and chips, Swedish meatballs, etc. The hot dogs come in several different varieties: beef, pork, chicken, and several veggie dog variations. You also have choices on fries: classic, sweet potato, cheese fries, onion rings, and more. Fare is pretty cheap, with hot dogs running at $3.50 and combos running at $7.25.

Seating is limited to fixed stools at counter space along two walls (at the Chelsea location). Service is done at the counter and was quick and friendly. It lends itself more to take-out than eat-in, and most customers choose accordingly.

We agreed the hot dogs, in their many variations, were so-so. Although they came in interesting incarnations, they were no better than a $2 dog off the street. The sweet potato fries and onion rings were tasty, as were these yummy little things called beignets. They were 3 for a dollar, about the size of a biscuit, and made fresh upon command. They were nothing more than fried balls of dough with raspberry sauce drizzled over, but they were warm and fairly delicious.

With good prices and some tasty fair,
F & B Gudtfood is a reasonable choice for a guilty snack any day, but not for a satisfying meal. -Laurel

I first saw this place when I was next door at Trailer Park, drunk. It looked like worth a try - cheap food, clean, potentially greasy. Unfortunately, I wasn't a huge fan. I'm not a vegetarian, obviously, but I do enjoy veggie dogs, and this place simply didn't cut it. I got a veggie dog with slaw, mustard, and relish - the "Nashville" at Hot Diggity Dog...in Nashville. HDD is much, much better.

However, Gudtfood's strawberry lemonade was delicious and their onion rings were like Burger King's, which are good and greasy. I don't know if I'll eat there again, but I might if I'm drunk enough, mainly because they have fish and chips, and I'm always a sucker for those. -Jennifer

Address: 150 E 52nd St & 3rd, OR 23rd & 8th Ave.

Payment: credit, cash

Take Out: yes

Open Late: sorta. 11:30

Delivery: yes, and catering

Large Group Friendly: not really

Bar/Happy Hour: beer, but no bar/happy hour

January 14, 2008


Orignally on the Upper East Side and now in the Hell's Kitchen area, Vynl has the artistic expression and awesome music of a local record shop mixed with fantastic brunch, a friendly staff, and themed bathrooms. That's right, you can empty your bladder with your choice of Elvis, Dolly, Cher, and Nelly (yes, "Country Grammar" Nelly). And not only are there murals and action figures, but their music plays while you wee wee.

In the Upper East Side location, I hear there is also an Elton John bathroom (which is pretty ironic if I do say so myself). I'm definitely going to have to make a trip up there and check it out.

Either way, from the disco ball adorning the ceiling and the LPs as menus, to delicious food and excellent service, I was all together impressed by Vynl. It's definitely a New York original, and well worth stopping by! In fact, you'll probably see us in there someday soon. - Jennifer

I am a total sucker for brunch--I love everything about it. The foods (the best of breakfast and lunch), the time eaten (don't have to get up early), the drinks that go with it (mimosas and smoothies). And Vynl was pretty excellent brunch. Jennifer and I shared two dishes: "make your own omelet" that came with toast and hashbrowns, and the brioche french toast with cooked apples and caramel sauce. They were reasonably priced at about $8 each, and plenty of food. The omelet was fluffy and generously filled, and the french toast was just plain tasty. The service was also very attentive.

I'd suggest
Vynl for brunch or breakfast (served all day) to anyone who loves brunch as I do, and/or likes popular music kitsch. It's a nice blending of both worlds. -Laurel

Address: 754 9th Ave (at 51st Street) or 3 other locations--see website.

Payment: credit, cash

Take Out: no

Open Late: 1:ooam on weekends

Delivery: no

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: bar: yes, with occasional drink specials.

January 10, 2008

The Tuck Shop

I’m about to admit a sad fact. One that I plan on changing soon in the coming year, one of my 100 million resolutions.

I have never been out of the country.

Luckily, however, I’m not a total ingrate – I live in New York City, culture capital of the world. And recently, Laurel found this delectable little food I had never before heard of – meat pies.

Unless you know what these tasty pies are, you’re probably gagging right now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love meat (not in one of those fuck PETA type of ways, just in one of those it tastes good so I’m going to eat it type of ways) and I LOVE pie. Love it (probably why I love “Pushing Daisies” so much). But the thought of those two things together grossed me out. That is, until we traveled down to the Tuck Shop – The Great Aussie Bite – on First Street, and I had my first meat pie experience.

The shop is small, but inviting. There were two Australian girls sitting down with a glass of wine talking in the corner, and with the addition of another table and some counter space, that was about all the seating in the place. Behind the counter is a heating rack filled with meat pies (and that day's special - a sheperd's pie!) and also a vast selection of purely Australian food, like Tim Tams and Vegemite (which, for the sake of being lazy and not googling it, I have no idea what those are). Additionally, and of course, most excitedly, they play a game on Tuesdays where you flip for your food. I suppose if you get heads they pay for it, and if you get tails, well, you do. We didn't partake, my one regret.

The menu has more than meat pies - it includes rolls, sangers (sandwiches) and much more! I decided on the traditional pie, as I have never had a meat pie before and figured I should go balls out. From the first bite, I was so happy we chose the place. The pie was tender and full of flavor, and didn't taste anything like apples, cherries, or lemon meringue or even chicken pot pie for that matter. We also both ordered scalloped potatoes too, which I loooove. Here's the tricky thing about those potatoes - unfortunately, the guy only made one batch (it was his first day - so cute). We finished them immediately, and while we waited for the second batch, we made each other stop eating so we could enjoy them with our meals, which meant one thing: staring at something that tastes delicious for far too long. No problem, the finished product was well worth the wait. - Jennifer

I took an interest in Tuck Shop as I was fortunate enough to take a short trip to Australia during high school, and fell in love with meat pies while there. I know when I first read meat pie on a menu, I thought of something like a steak and kidney pie--you know, something with organs in it. Stuff I don't want to eat. But good for me, it was something much more delicious. Among other things, I have missed meat pies ever since I left Australia, so I was eager to eat them again.

Tuck Shop is small and cozy with good service. No tips required, but there is a jar at the counter. It is a fun place to hang out in with a friend or two (it is small), and no doubt would be good after-drinking food--luckily, they're open late. It's a bargain, as the pies are $5 and pretty satisfying. The sides are also very reasonably priced. I had a Chook Pie, which is a chicken pie with a little ham and leeks in a light white gravy. It was a little like a chicken pot pie, and pretty delicious, with a nice flaky crust.

Whether you're an Aussie, love Aussie food, or are just curious, you should try it. But don't try the Vegemite. Just trust me. -Laurel

Address: 68 East 1st Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave)

Website: http://www.thetuckshopnyc.com

Payment: credit, cash

Take Out: yes, + frozen meat pies available

Open Late: open til midnight mon-wed, 2am thurs, and 5am fri-sat

yes, limited area

Large Group Friendly:

Bar/Happy Hour:
bar - YES! happy hour - not that we could tell

January 9, 2008

The Dumpling Man

There are certain foods I crave when the weather turns cold and the days grow shorter--hearty soups, hot teas. They are my comfort foods during dreary weather, and for one reason or another, they are foods I find delicious when it's cold. You may not think of Asian dumplings as comfort food, but just trust me. They're little meals wrapped up in dough--what's not to love?

Dumpling Man is a small restaurant situated in the East Village on St. Mark's Place near 1st Ave. The restaurant is a skinny room with bar seating that faces the dumpling-making area. Sitting here, you can watch ladies as they make
and form dumplings at lightning speed. You order, pick up, and pay at the same place--no tipping required. Dumplings are offered in four main varieties: pork, chicken, veggie and shrimp. The prices are low: 3.95 to 5.25 for six, depending on the flavor and if you prefer your dumplings steamed or seared.

The menu also features a few small salads, miso soup and flan (an interesting touch), but dumplings are what we were after, and, judging by the name, what they are known for. We tried all four main varieties, seared. The dough is excellent, not too thick, not too doughy, and searing it adds a bit of crunch. The pork was my favorite-- juicy, with balanced, subtle seasonings like chives and ginger. The only dumpling not approved was the veggie. Although not particularly bad, and a viable option for a vegetarian, it was a little "green" for our taste and lacked the substance a dumpling can only get from meat.

I would return to the
Dumpling Man.. as a matter of fact, I'm wishing I had a few dumplings right about now. It is a little out of the way if you don't frequent the East Village, but they might be worth the trip if all of this is sounding good to you. Enjoy. - Laurel

Working in Chinatown, I feel like I could get a good dumpling anywhere (in fact, stay tuned for an "excellent" dumpling place we recently ventured upon). But when Laurel showed me the website for this place, it took about three seconds to convince me it would be excellent. First of all, their mascot is an anime-esque dumpling face, which is exciting/scary in itself, but THEN when you scroll your mouse over it, the dumpling winks at you . Yes, I know, it's dorky, but I love it. Logo's are everything. If you have a terrible logo, you probably suck (Slipknot).

However, I must say that traveling to the
Dumpling Man is even better. Watching those Asian women fill, poke and twist the dumplings into different shapes and sizes was very enthralling (besides the delicious taste of course). Not only is it interesting how fast they work, but also how they distinguish between the different varieties using colors. The chicken is orange, veggies are green, and even though the shrimp and pork are the same color, they're different shapes. Also (which might be a slightly unsanitary part of this story, but it's okay) - behind the counter, the owner came out and was talking and goofing off with the workers. And the girl working the counter had probably the craziest makeup I'd ever seen, and looked like an ex-punker who only applied for a job at the Dumpling Man because of the anime-esque logo.

In other words, in addition to some of the best dumplings I've ever had (the shrimp one has corn in it!), you get a show. And a good one. You can even buy a t-shirt out of it, or a cute pair of underwear - all brandished with that scary little dumpling head. I strongly suggest the Dumpling Man, but if you decide to get a little dumpling- don't order out, dine in. - Jennifer

Address: 100 St. Marks Place (at 1st Ave)

Website: http://dumplingman.com/

Take Out: yes, + frozen dumplings available

Delivery: yes, limited area

Payment: Cash only

Open Late: 12:30am on weekends

Large Group Friendly: no

Bar/Happy Hour: no

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